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Husband torches wife's wedding dress after furious row

James Ian Ratcliffe was bailed at Macclesfield Magistrates Court Photo: MEN Syndication

A raging husband torched his wife’s wedding dress after a row.

James Ian Ratcliffe, 35, set fire to the £1,000 dress which had been worn by his wife Nicola during their nuptials 10 months previously, a court heard.

She discovered the burnt remains of the garment in the garden of their Macclesfield home the day after walking out on him following an argument over his plans to store an air rifle in a the house, magistrates were told.

Ratcliffe also damaged a baby monitor, baby thermometer and mobile phone charger during a rage he himself described as ‘thermonuclear’, the court heard.

At Macclesfield magistrates’ court, Ratcliffe, of St Austell Avenue, admitted arson and criminal damage.

Debbie Byrne, prosecuting, said the Ratcliffes had been together for six years and married in August 2015.

She said:

Mrs Ratcliffe says the couple had been having problems for a few months.

On June 15 he had brought home an air rifle.

Mrs Ratcliffe said that there was no way it was staying in the house.

She then packed up some things and left the property.

As she left, Ratcliffe said he would burn the house down.

Mrs Ratcliffe went to her parents’ house and called the police.

The next day she returned with her father and brother.

She went into the back garden and found her wedding dress had been burnt.

She also found damage to a baby monitor, thermometer and her mobile phone charger inside the house.

– Debbie Byrne, prosecuting

The court heard that Ratcliffe was treated in hospital for an insulin overdose after the incident.

Mrs Byrne said:

After he was arrested he told police he had a moment of rage when she told him she was leaving.

He described himself as going thermonuclear.

He set the wedding dress alight using a naked flame.

He said it was a moment of complete stupidity. He said the dress was symbolic.

– Debbie Byrne, prosecuting

Jenny Fields, defending, said Ratcliffe was getting help from a mental health team.

Magistrates bailed Ratcliffe to speak to the probation service ahead of a sentencing hearing in the same court on July 19.